allure of the auto

I’m in Portland, Oregon, and at the museum is an exhibit of classic cars. had a great time shooting them, although it was very low light without flash…

Allure of the Automobile//
Here’s some basic info from the museum’s catalogue:

1930 Bentley: Speed Six “Blue Train Special.” Walter Owen Bentley built big, powerful, stately and also extremely speedy cars that won many long-distance races in spite of their heft. Curator Ken Gross writes: “Ettore Bugatti, whose cars were for the most part light and lithe, is said to have commented sarcastically, ‘Monsieur Bentley builds the world’s fastest lorries.'” But take a look at that luxurious carriage. That’s no truck.

1931 Duesenberg: SJ Convertible Sedan. Despite their name, Dueseys were American cars, built in Indiana to designs by German immigrant brothers Fred and August Duesenberg. Hollywood stars and capitalist high-rollers loved these cars. Jay Leno owns eight of them. This one has belonged at various times to Buster Keaton’s son, Jean Harlow’s ex-husband and Portland grocery baron Gerald Strohecker.

1933 Pierce-Arrow: Silver Arrow. A streamlined, futuristic-looking car that combined the sculptural qualities of Art Deco design with the imposing look of money and prestige. The rear windows are super-slim triangles — sleek and gorgeous but almost impossible to see out of.

1937 Bugatti: Type 57S Atalante. A superstar among stars — as Gross puts it, “a sports car for the ages.” This one has been restored to its original, jaw-dropping color combination of black and yellow. A racecar-fast two-seater, it’s definitely not a family car.

1937 Dubonnet Hispano-Suiza: H-6C “Xenia.” Sleek, streamlined and seemingly faster than a speeding bullet, this improbably low-slung coupe seems almost more like a spaceship than a car. It was built for French millionaire Andre Dubonnet, who named it “Xenia” after his late wife, reportedly to the consternation of his wife at the time.

1937 Mercedes-Benz: 540KSpecial Roadster. A sporty silver beauty. Gross writes: “The 540K had presence, panache and power, and it still exudes those qualities today.” This one was a graduation gift to 19-year-old Baron Henning von Krieger from his mother, and later went to his sister, the glamorous Baroness Gisella von Krieger, then sat idly in a Connecticut garage for decades before being restored.

1938 Alfa Romeo: 8C2900B Touring Berlinetta. A curvilinear beauty that won endurance speed races and is noted for its advanced engineering. Gross quotes Ferrari historian Stan Nowack, who drove the car in 1968: “What a delight. I had driven many great pre-war machines … but none felt as modern as this 82C900 Alfa! … The entire feel of the car denied its prewar heritage.”

1939 Talbot-Lago: T-150-C-SS. Stunningly smooth lines. A series of echoing curves slung on a low sharp chassis, it seems perfect in form. The Talbot-Lago’s shape was quickly dubbed “teardrop.” The body of this ultimate fastback was designed by Georges Paulin, who trained as a dental technician but found the possibilities of the luxury automobile infinitely more appealing.

1948 Tucker: Model 48 Torpedo No. 1007. Preston Tucker is one of the most fabled failures in American manufacturing history, either an innovative genius felled by a dark conspiracy of corporate forces (as persistent legend has it) or an erratic showman whose own poor business skills brought him down (as his detractors insist). Either way, he’s a great story, and this is a beautiful car.

1953 Porsche 550: History in an aluminum shell — the prototype racing car that set the stage for Porsche’s amazing success on the world’s race tracks and revived the German company’s fortunes after the war.

1954 Plymouth Explorer Sports Coupe: Chrysler was looking to upgrade its dowdy postwar image and turned to Ghia designer Luigi Segre to jazz things up in a series of Dodge concept cars called Firearrows. The Explorer Coupe quickly followed. Long, low and sexy but also roomy inside, the Explorer and its Ghia sisters had a sporty but quietly luxurious look that anticipated and helped inspire Detroit’s ebullient designs of the later ’50s and ’60s.

1955 Mercedes-Benz: 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut” Coupe. Light, tight and powerful, the SLR with its gull-wing doors was an aeronautic speedster that cleaned up on the race tracks and became extraordinarily popular with enthusiasts. The one on display is one of just two rare, specially designed coupes that Mercedes-Benz racing boss Rudolf Uhlenhaut ordered built.

1957 Jaguar: XK-SS Roadster. This one was Steve McQueen’s tooling-around-Mulholland Drive car: He loved the twists and turns. The XK-SS was just the thing for racing around hairpin curves. Its immediate predecessors the D-types were consistent winners at Le Mans. The D-types were another step in the merging of form and functionality, with a one-piece sheet-aluminum shell and a redesigned engine that allowed the car to sit alarmingly low to the ground. The XK-SS is basically a street version of those racing machines. Because of a factory fire, only 18 were built.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray: Longer, lower, sportier, like the most elegant torpedo ever built. It was built on the sly under orders of a maverick GM vice president named Bill Mitchell, who later explained that sharp fender line to writer Mark Cantey: “Trousers don’t look any damn good without a crease in them. You’ve got to have an edge to accentuate form.”

1961 Aston Martin: DB4GT Zagato Coupe. A fortuitous marriage of Italian and English know-how, with body design for the English company by Italians Gianni Zagato and Ercole Spada. Gross praises the “sneer” of this car’s “turned-down, oversized grille” and “bellowing tailpipes,” saying the car “exudes a purposefulness matched by its fine record as a quick, agile and race-winning GT.”

1961 Ferrari: 250 GT Comp.61 Short-wheelbase Berlinetta. This is a shorter version of Ferrari’s championship 250 GT Gran Turismo racer, designed to be even more effective on the racetrack with improved cornering and maneuverability. It took a beauty and made it more compact but also more efficient — engineering wedded to design.

Source: Exhibition catalog, “The Allure of the Automobile,” Ken Gross and Ronald T. Labaco (put together b y Bob Hicks)

My daughter wanted to know what happened to these cars.

I looked up Bugatti, and found that Ettore Bugatti died in 1947, preceded by the death of his son, Jean who died in 1937 while testing a Type 57 race car. World War II ruined the factory in Molsheim, and the company lost control of the property. A comeback was attempted in the mid 1950s by Roland Bugatti, but the car did not perform according to expectations…



Coming to a close

This home in the County Club section of Mill Valley is circa 1950. Windows were small and rooms were chopped up. The homeowners had already remodeled their master bedroom, but they wanted to update the exterior, open up the living spaces and create a new kitchen. They hired architects Ted Bonneau and Chad Stith of OXB Studio, and the project is almost complete.

Here’s where they’re at:

The exterior wood was repainted. A bay window was put in the kitchen area. A banding of stone is planned for underneath the wood siding and new pavers will be set into the autocourt. A balcony area over the garage was not planned in the beginning of the project, but since the old greenhouse windows were leaking, the owners decided it was time to tackle that area. The balcony gives the home a new look and also provides a perfect vantage point to enjoy views of Mount Tam.

Another view of the balcony…

and from the balcony overlooking into the autocourt.

A new stone chimney has just been capped off.

In the living room, there’s a new wood floor, board-and-batten wainscotting was added, ceiling heights were raised to nine feet, and new glass doors go floor-to-ceiling, which really opened up the views.

The new stone see-through fireplace separates the living room from the kitchen.

And looking at it from the other direction….

The counter tops in the large center island are covered with granite. The custom wood Shaker-style cabinetry is painted white. At this point, the homeowners are in the process of choosing a stone subway tile backsplash.

Coloration and striations complement the stone used in the fireplace.

The family room floors have been refinished, a new fireplace has been added as well as TV-audio visual cabinets that separate the family room from the kitchen and dining area.

A large deck off of the bedroom over the garage offers spectacular views.

Another view of the new chimney.

And a pretty view of the pool area…

PBC Banner Center

Recently I wrote a story on the Banner Center of Life Science program headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens (You can read that story here on North County Current).

protein 3
Students at June’s Protein Purification workshop

But in this post here, I wanted to give you an idea about the actual trainings.

I asked the folks at our Banner Center (Elizabeth Handel, Jill Diodato, Douglas Saenz, director of industry and economic relations at Workforce Alliance), if I take part in one of its short one-or-two-day trainings, what kind of job will it prepare me for, and is there one actually waiting for me?

protein 1
Participants in the Protein Purification workshop working on filtration

The curricula for the trainings the Banner Center created are based on the feedback they’ve received from bio sciences companies on the skill sets they need their employees to have.

Any prospective (or current) employee can benefit from the trainings,  explained Jill Diodato, the center’s program manager. “All workshops are hands-on, industry specific for entry-level, advanced level and skills upgrade.

“Each course has been designed to specifically address industry-accepted competencies. Banner Center for Life Sciences courses are designed by Florida’s life sciences industry for industry to fill jobs where there currently is a need for staff.  The purpose behind industry-designed curriculum is to ensure their needs are being met — with the kind of training they want employees to  have — and that jobs will be available for the newly-trained workforce.”

If you are job hunting, here’s a list of applicable NIAC codes:

Research and Development in Biotechnology – 541711

Medicinal and Botanical Manufacturing – 325411

Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing  – 325412

In-Vitro Diagnostic Substance MFG. – 325413

Biological Product Manufacturing – 325414

Surgical Appliance and Supplies Mfg. – 339113

Other Electronic and Precision Equipment Repair and Maintenance  – 811219

When I looked these up, I found that each category included entry-level jobs (like office clerks, sorters and samplers), to higher levels (like supervisors and engineers).

So, for those who are recent high-school grads and for those who are looking for a career change, these trainings are a kind of first step (and might get you in the door). For those who already have a science-related job, the trainings will add skill sets that the bio-science companies are looking for.

Trainings offered by the Banner Center:

Business Basics for Life Science Industry:  This two-day workshop provides a basic understanding of business and science components that impact life science businesses. Designed for students, incumbent workers, and scientists in academia, this module provides an overview of business fundamentals of the life science industry. After participating in this workshop, a participant will be able to describe the business aspects of diverse life science companies and explain how science affects business considerations. Topics include: company structure and functions, product development process, funding, legal considerations and business development/licensing. Detailed case studies of Florida and global pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech life science companies will be performed.

Cleanroom Technology: This course will provide fundamentals for working in cleanroom environments including procedures, management and current GMP practices. Topics include facility design and specification, standards and best practices, measurement and instrumentation, environmental monitoring, gowning and product testing. The student will become familiar with ISO, IEST, NIST and ASTM standards.

Medical Device Basics: This two-day workshop provides an introduction to medical device manufacturing and overview of medical device industry regulations.  Participants will be able to describe and identify the tools and processes specific to the medical device industry. Topics include GMP systems and procedures, validation and quality Systems. Regulatory Affairs will also be addressed and will include: federal regulations, working with the FDA, assembling and filing an IND, IDE, or 510K application, and clinical trials.

Protein Purification and Characterization: This workshop provides insight into the theory and techniques of monoclonal antibody purification and characterization. Participants learn the theory of antibody separation methods using chromatography and standard characterization methods including quantification using spectroscopy and SDS-Page.  Laboratory instruction will include fundamentals of different types of purification strategies and hands-on experience with affinity chromatography and membrane filtration for the production of monoclonal antibodies. This module will include a case study from Meridian Life Science, an industrial monoclonal antibody manufacturer. Lectures will include industrial processing of biological materials from Fermentation to Downstream Purification, Quality Control and Quality Assurance practices.

Cell Culture Methods: This course will introduce students to the components of a tissue culture laboratory, equipment, instruments and aseptic technique.  Students will learn how to prepare media, culture and maintain cell lines, perform appropriate documentation, perform cryopreservation, and gain an understanding of biopharmaceutical regulations.  The course will involve a case study of Immunosite Technologies, a contract research and testing company focused on discovery and development of immune-based drugs, vaccines and biologics.

Pharmaceutical Basics: This course will provide basic insights into the pharmaceutical industry, drug development process and basic laboratory skills.  This module will familiarize participants with basic wet chemistry techniques preparation of buffers, mobile phases, finished product sample and stability samples.  This will also include working in a current GMP (cGMP) environment with compendial methods from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).   Students will learn concepts in Quality Assurance including GLP and GMP compliance, SOPs, documentation, and validation.

I took the Protein Purification workshop. A tech for this would fall under the Biological Technician occupational code. In June, there were approximately 75 postitions open in Florida, according to Douglas Saenz, director of industry and economic relations, Workforce Alliance.

Although I don’t have a science background, I could pretty much follow along. About 30 or so people participated (a full class) — and my “classmates” were either science students or lab techs…

Continue reading “PBC Banner Center”

Discover Local Artist: Karen McGovern

Since artist Karen McGovern grew up in the Florida wilderness, it shaped every aspect of her life.

KM Headshot
Karen McGovern

“When I moved to a remote town in Florida at the age of ten, my whole world changed and I became enthralled with wildlife and wild art. With alligators in my back yard and wood storks in the trees, I embraced the natural world around me,” she said.

In Loxahatchee, she lives with endangered parrots, primates and African antelope on her 30-plus-acre wildlife preserve.

Her career in conservation biology was almost pre-destined. Because of her work, she travels to the Caribbean islands, African savannas and Mexican jungles.

Her art and jewelry design also directly reflect her deep respect for nature, and her passion to preserve creatures living wild in the world.

“Varacasite” (or Earth Stone) is a piece of 20-by-17-mm hand-cut varacasite set in sterling silver on sterling silver (band size 9). $85.
“Innocent” is 2.5-by- 3-inch pendant constructed from hammered brass with antique optic lens (circa 1890) and antique photograph (unknown), text transparency, antique skeleton key, sterling silver and copper gears, copper wire accents, sterling silver discs. It is cold connected using steel micro screws and is on an 18-inch copper hoop chain. $85.
Fertile Imagination Bad Idea
“Fertile Imagination – Bad Idea” was inspired by the overwhelming overpopulation of humans on the planet. It is a 2-inch-tall antique-porcelain German doll body with a cast-bronze baby and bronze fibers. It has a miniature functional abacus and miniature functional hourglass.  It also has a sterling silver wire and gold over pewter gear accents and is on an 18-inch sterling-silver chain. $125.

Her latest series, “Sacred Salvage,” includes “Story Book” and “Poetry Piece” mixed-media necklaces, lockets and shields. The designs are created around her original short stories and poems, which are included with each piece. Printed on parchment paper, her stories offer a peek into her vivid imagination and are an obvious reflection of her passion for art, nature, mythology, and folklore.

Each design is singular and incorporates intricate handmade polymer clay pendants and beads, handmade brass and copper lockets, vintage photographs, antiquities, sterling silver, and found objects.

A unique example of wearable art, many of her creations are offered with a wood-and-glass shadow box for display when not being worn.

Karen donates most of her proceeds to support wildlife conservation programs through the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation,

“Art and nature are one and the same to me. You cannot have one without the other. My goal is to create art that represents this link and raises awareness and funds for wildlife conservation.”

McGovern’s work is on exhibit at the Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery, 605 Lake Ave, Lake Worth. The gallery’s art events are every first and third Friday of the month, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m..  Her work can also be seen on her site

Rock 4 A Cause

A local realtor, Maureen Barber, has created a foundation in memory of her ex-husband, Brad Barber, who died last year due to suicide. She donates 10 percent of her commission to her foundation and 10 percent to her client’s charity.

Brad Barber

In addition, she’s putting on her first event, Rock 4 A Cause! concert, Saturday, July 16.

Her story is very sad, obviously, but, as a result of his death and in his memory, she’s created something positive.

I’ve written about her on the North County Current site, so you can get more information there, or you can go directly to her site, (That’s the JB Barber Memorial Foundation, where you can buy a ticket!) That day, I’ll be on the West Coast, so I’ll miss it. The concert features Scott Benge and Acoustic Remedy, and tickets are $50. The concert is at the Borland Center, 4885 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens. Doors open at 7 p.m.

North County Current

A quick announcement…

On Friday, June  10, Palm2Jupiter, the little niche paper that I wrote for this past year folded. The writers (Amy Woods, Lee Hinnant and I) don’t want to give up! So (by the following Monday), I “renovated” our old paper into an online “paper,North County Current and the three of us began to fill it up.

This logo is clickable!

We are officially up and running, and I’d love it if you’d go take a look and let me know what you think. Click around, link to us, subscribe if the spirit moves you…

I’ll continue to do real estate, homes, health and science. Amy will cover the nonprofit world, and Lee will handle news and events. At least, that’s the plan!

Also, I’m thinking I can put the “Articles” there and the “Back Stories” here, which might be kind of fun!

Thanks for your interest in my sites. Just want you to know that I appreciate you…